Happily Ever After

New Paintings by Linda Saccoccio. At Caruso-Woods Contemporary Art Gallery. Shows through February 28.

Reviewed by Beth Taylor-Schott

Linda_Saccoccio.jpgA fanciful tale about the origins of Linda Saccoccio’s paintings might go something like this: Once upon a time, three sisters lived in a house with walls covered with bare paper. The first sister proceeded to embellish the walls with straight, vertical stripes of varying widths. In each room, she used one or two primary colors, and then at times she would include hues that were not primary at all but sang when placed against the others. Though her compositions were orderly, the paint had tooth and the lines sometimes wavered cheerfully. Soon the house had a jovial look, and the sisters lived together happily for some time in this way.

Then one day, the second sister  —  who had always been a little different from the others, a little more ethereal, a little less grounded  —  picked up her own brush and began to paint, making fluid curves and gestures on top of the stripes. This sister favored colors like mauve and orange. She did not exactly accommodate her marks to her sister’s, but she did not ignore the stripes, either. Her sisters began to think she was reliving a former life in which she had communicated fluently in a calligraphic hand, but they could find no literal meaning in what she wrote. They liked the designs, though, and never thought about painting over them. After a few years, it seemed as if they must have always been there, the way a vine comes to seem made for its trellis.

The third sister, the youngest by many years, lived with the other two until they were gone. Then, she got herself a nice senior condo with fresh white walls. But when she got there, it felt lonely. So she went back to the house and cut her favorite passages from the walls. As she hung them in her new home, she was careful not to disguise their origins, at times letting the paper overrun the edges of its mountings. Now an old woman, the youngest sister realized how lucky she had been to have lived so long in such a magical place, and how happy she was to have brought it with her, even if only in bits and pieces.

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